There was an article in the Denver Post’s YourHub section on 9/24/2009 titled, “Annual fundraiser just takes some cents” that caught my eye.  The article by Amber Gerding (program coordinator at the Young Philanthropists Foundation) was about the Penny Harvest, a service learning program of the Young Philanthropists Foundation, a Denver-based nonprofit whose mission is to “give kids the power to change our world through philanthropy and volunteerism.”  The Penny Harvest program is “designed to teach kids about their value as contributers to society and after the “harvest,” students identify community issues, interview local community leaders and make big decisions of where to grant all of that money.”

From their website, I learned “In the 2008-2009 year, the students have officially harvested 3.8 million pennies, or $38,996.96, for local charities through the Young Philanthropists Foundation’s 2008-2009 Penny Harvest.” In its second year, the Penny Harvest was in 31 elementary and middle schools in Colorado and resulted in over 90 grants of both service hours and money.

From the website I learned, “The Penny Harvest was born more than 17 years ago out of one child’s desire to help the homeless. Since its inception it has grown to include more than 500,000 students in 900 schools in New York City, Albany, Seattle, Nashville, Florida and Colorado. In the past 17 years, Penny Harvest students have given away more than $6 Million to nonprofits and contributed more than half a million service hours to their local communities.”

What a cool and worthwhile program to show the next generation of citizens how to make a difference.  I am going to give them a call to see how my company can support their efforts.  If there is no existing program like this in your community, how can your business help develop one?  Clearly this is a best practice ripe for replication!

Check them out at: http://www.pennyharvest.org or call at 720-221-9218.